$3.6 million for new three-year program to maintain, create new spaces
(Columbia Basin) – Columbia Basin Trust is launching a new $3.6-million program to help maintain and create new child care spaces in the Basin.
“The Child Care Support Program will help sustain and grow quality licensed child care in the Basin,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “The child care sector has several complex issues, including affordability of child care for families, inadequate supply of child care spaces and a shortage of qualified professional staff to work in the sector. We are helping to address those issues with this new program.”
Over the next three years, the Trust’s new Child Care Support Program will provide:
- Capital grants to support improvements to existing facilities and construct new child care spaces
- Training support for Early Childhood Educators to help fill workforce gaps and meet professional development needs
- A Program Advisor to support child care providers and work with the sector to find solutions for common business challenges.
There are 2,600 child care spaces in the Basin, yet there is demand for more spaces, more staff and more training for staff.
“Parents, child care providers and experts have provided input into the development of this program,” Strilaeff said. “We know quality child care is a critical resource that supports early learning and development, and helps parents’ ability to work or further their education.”
The first intake of the capital grants program will launch later this fall.
Earlier this year, the Trust also committed $210,000 to the 20 community Early Years Planning Tables throughout the Basin. These are community planning groups that coordinate and develop local resources to support young children’s healthy development and the needs of their families, such as hosting parent education events, connecting with hard-to-reach parents and coordinating early screening programs for children.
Over the past five years, the Trust has helped improve the quality and safety of 300 child care spaces through its social grants program. The Trust identified early childhood and child development as one of 13 strategic priorities following an extensive public consultation in 2014/15.